Old Testament Study:
Manna - A Type of Christ, pt. 2,
by Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
1And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. 2And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 3And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. 4Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. 5And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. (Ex 16:1-5 AV)
13And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. 14And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. 16This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
19And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. 20Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. 21And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. 22And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 27And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 28And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 29See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (Ex. 16:13-31 AV)
[Here we continue this article. Mr. Pink is enumerating ways
in which Manna is typical of Christ.]
9. The Manna met a daily need. “Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day” (v. 4). The manna which they gathered today would not suffice them for tomorrow. They needed to obtain a fresh supply each day. It is just here that so many of the Lord’s people fail. We, too, need to feed upon Christ “every day.” Just as in the physical realm the food which I ate yesterday will not nourish me today, so my past experiences and attainments will not meet the exigencies of the present. Christ must be kept constantly before the heart. “Give us day by day our daily bread,” should be the prayer of every child of God.
10. Appetite determined the amount gathered. “This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded. Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less” (vv. 16, 17). Thus we see that the appetite governed the amount gathered. How strikingly and how solemnly true is this of the believer, “We all have as much of Christ as we desire, no more, no less. If our desires are large, if we open our mouth wide, He will fill it. We cannot desire too much, nor be disappointed when we desire. On the other hand, if we are but feebly conscious of our need, a little only of Christ will be supplied. The measure, therefore, in which we feed upon Christ as our wilderness food, depends entirely upon our felt spiritual need — upon our affections” (Ed. Dennett).
11. The Manna was despised by those who were not the Lord’s people. “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting, and the children of Israel also went again, and said, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic. But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing left at all, beside this manna, before our eyes’” (Numbers 11:4-6). How these words remind us of the language of Isaiah 53 — “And when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire of Him. He is despised and rejected of men.” The sin-blinded eyes of the natural man are incapable of perceiving the attractiveness of the Lord Jesus: His wondrous perfections, he is unable to discern. So, too, he sees not his own deep need, and how Christ alone is able to meet that need. Hence he neither comes to Christ, nor desires Him.
12. The Manna fell upon the dew, not upon the dust of the ground. “And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it” (Numbers 11:9). Everything in the Scriptures has a spiritual meaning and application. What, then, is the significance of the above? Genesis 3:19 throws light on this passage — “dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” These words were spoken to fallen man and called attention to the corruption which sin had worked in him. “Dust,” here, and onwards, speaks of fallen humanity. Now the manna fell not upon “the dust,” but upon the dew. How clearly this foreshadowed the uniqueness and incorruptibility of our Lord’s humanity! The Word became flesh, but in His humanity the Lord Jesus shared not our corrupt nature. He took upon Him the form of a servant, but the body which was prepared for Him (Hebrews 10:5) belonged not to the “dust” of this earth. Before He was born the angel announced unto His mother, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
13. The Manna was white in color. We read in Exodus 16:31, “And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna; and it was like coriander seed, white.” This speaks of the spotless purity of our Lord as manifested outwardly in His daily walk. He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “He was without sin” (Hebrews 4:13). “He did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22). He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). In 1 Peter 1:19 we are told that He was a lamb “without spot and without blemish.” The former expression referring to the absence of outward pollution, the latter to the absence of inward defect. In His walk through this scene of corruption He contracted no defilement. He only could touch the leper without becoming contaminated. He was “without spot,” pure, white.
14. The Manna was sweet to the taste. “And the taste of it was like wafers of honey” (v. 31). We need to go to the Song of Solomon for the interpretation of this. There we read, “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste” (2:3). And again, “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; His lips like lillies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.... His mouth is most sweet; yea, He is altogether lovely” (5:13, 16). The Lord grant that our “meditation of Him shall be sweet” (Psalm 104:34).
15. The Manna was ground and baked. “And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it” (Numbers 11:8). How this speaks to us of the sufferings of our blessed Lord! Such expressions as “He groaned for their hardness of heart,” He “sighed” because of their unbelief, He “wept” over Jerusalem, and many others, tell of the grinding of the manna. His treatment at the hands of the Jews and the brutal soldiers in Herod’s judgment-hall show us the beating of the manna. On the Cross we behold Him subjected to the fierce fires of God’s wrath. Thus we learn that the manna, ground and beaten, speaks to us of Him who “was bruised for our iniquities.”
16. The Manna was preserved on the Sabbath. “And he said unto them, ‘This is that which the Lord hath said, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord, bake that which ye will bake, and seeth that ye will seeth, and that which remaineth over, lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”’ And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein” (vv. 23, 24). On the Sabbath day the manna was preserved, and in this, too, it speaks to us of our blessed Lord. He is the only one who was preserved through death. He lay in the tomb on the Sabbath day and was “kept,” for God had said, “Neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).
17. The Manna was laid up before the Lord. “And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord” (v. 33). Concerning the anti-type, we read, “For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). The golden pot in which the manna was preserved tells of how God is glorified in Him whom it foreshadowed. “Although the Son of Man it is that gives it to us; although it is humanity here that we know, and humanity in the form in which we shall not find it when we shall reach Him above, yet it is humanity in which God is glorified now, and so He will be glorified in it forever. We shall find in the One upon the Throne of Glory, though no longer ‘with a face marred more than any man’s,’ and a form more than the sons of men — the very One whose face was marred — the very One whose heart put Him into the sorrow in which we, of necessity there, learned to know Him thus” (Mr. Grant).
18. The Manna is called angel’s food. We read in Psalm 78:25, man did eat angel’s food; “He gave them meat to the full”; the reference here is to the giving of the manna to Israel in the wilderness. The anti-type of this is brought before us in several passages in the last book of Scripture. Christ not only feeds the souls of those of His people who are upon earth, but He also satisfies the hearts of celestial beings. The unfallen angels find their chief delight in feeding upon Christ. They worship Him, they serve Him, and they tell forth His praises.
19. The Manna was given in the night. It was during the hours of darkness that the manna was sent to the Israelites. It is while they were asleep (picture of man’s helplessness, for we are never so helpless as when we are asleep) that the bread was given from Heaven. So, too, it was when we were in darkness and unbelieved impotent, “without strength,” that Christ came to us. Moreover it will be at the close of this world’s night, when “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2), that the Bread of God shall return and give life to the world.
20. The Manna is now hidden. In Revelation 2:17 we read, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” So, too, Christ, of whom the manna continually speaks, is now “hidden.” Unseen by the eye of sense, He remains in Heaven till that day when He shall be manifested before all the world. “We shall not only ‘see’ the Heavenly manna, but we shall ‘eat’ of it again. Fresher than ever will be our realization of His love and the perfection of the grace which is manifested toward us. It is then in fact, when we come to be there, that we shall have the full enjoyment; knowing as we are known, of all the experiences, which though they be experiences of the wilderness, yet, wait for the land to which we are hastening to find their full interpretation and blessing. The meat endures to everlasting life. The meat itself endures. We are enjoying that which shall be our joy for eternity. We are feeding on that which shall be our food for eternity” (Mr. Grant).
We are conscious that our treatment of this wonderful and precious type is most inadequate and unworthy. But if it leads our fellow-believers to a more careful study of the written Word, and to a deeper longing to become better acquainted with the incarnate Word, our feeble efforts will be well repaid.
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